Fleet Dinghy Cruising

Fleet Dinghy Cruising

Dinghy cruises are one of the Club’s most popular activities and the dinghy section has a long history of providing safe and enjoyable dinghy cruising, both on the Solent and further afield.

Most dinghy cruises take place in the sheltered waters of the Solent. The boats are usually prepared for the road the night before and are towed down to the coast, where they are launched from a suitable public slip way or sailing club.We are fortunate to have the use of a number of launching sites in both the East and West Solent, resulting in a large area of reasonably sheltered water to explore. The cruise itself often involves a trip over to the Isle of Wight or, if this is not suitable, to a destination somewhere else in the Solent, such as a beach or a destination further up Southampton Water. Dinghy Cruises are open to all Club members, no matter what their experience. The Club has a great deal of experience organising these days and a good deal of effort is put in behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly. A programme of events, including regular dinghy cruises is published at the start of the season and each event is appointed an Advanced Organiser (AO) and an Officer of the Day (OOD).

The Advanced organiser is responsible for organising who is going on the event, which boats are available and the logistics of getting everyone to the coast. The Officer of the Day takes overall responsibility for the day and the Club is very fortunate to have some very capable and experienced OODs.

More details of the responsibilities of AOs and OODs are given in the dinghy cruise notes which are available to members in the membership area.

DINGHY CRUISES

The dinghy cruises organised by the Club are open to all Club members, no matter how experienced or well qualified. Nearly all the weekend day cruises are on the Solent, where the wind is less fluky than at Frensham Pond SC and waves and tides add an extra dimension.

Cody Club at Anchor in Wootton Creek in Autumn 2012

The cruises are usually on a weekend and often start early. The number of boats being taken is sometimes limited by the number of towbars, so if you have one on your car, you will be in demand. People who aren’t towing boats usually pile into the towing cars to share the cost of petrol and make the event more sociable. Really keen sailors spend the whole journey listening for weather forecasts and trying to tune into Radio Solent for the local outlook, while the rest of us just prepare for the coming day’s events!

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As long as the wind is not too strong, the cruise generally goes ahead as planned, but if the forecast is bad the previous evening then all participants are informed that the sail is off. This means that a set of waterproofs is required by everyone. Wetsuits, drysuits and special boots etc are worn by some, but they are not essential. The essentials are: packed lunch including plenty of water/squash/hot drink, soft-soled shoes (e.g. deck strollers, trainers etc), a set of spare clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, sun-cream, and a small amount of money for petrol sharing and drinks at the pub/ice creams on the beach.

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Once down at the coast, everybody wakes up again and the boats are rigged; this is a good exercise for learning the ropes as the boats are completely dismantled for the journey and the boat captains invariably refer to every bit of string by its proper name. There are usually four or more boats and enough sailors to warrant three to a boat on most occasions; this leads to a more sociable sail, especially if you change boats for the return trip.

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There are a variety of dinghies owned by Club members and the Club owns Comet Trios (an exciting sail with an asymmetric spinnaker). Once the crews are organised so that everyone is happy, the Officer of the Day gets the charts and tidal atlas out to explain to everyone exactly where we are going.

At this stage of the proceedings, the mood and capability of all the participants, the latest weather forecast, and the prevailing weather conditions help to tailor the goals of the day. The trip over to the Isle of Wight takes 2-3 hours, maybe less in a good wind or much longer in a poor one, and there is usually a pub with easy access by boat. We all bask in the sun for an hour, eat and drink (not too much), and review any lessons learnt so far.

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Depending on the timing of lunch and factors previously outlined, the dinghies then head straight home or on an indirect cruise via some other point of interest (getting an ice cream from Ryde has been attempted and failed due to localised Doldrums).

Once back on land, the boats are packed up ready for the return journey, and everybody gets changed into clean, dry clothes. On the return journey, a stop at a public house cannot be avoided, especially in nice weather, and a pint of beer will be all it takes to knock you out at the end of the day. By 10pm everybody is home, in the bath (but not necessarily all together!).

Harbour Sails

Portsmouth, Langstone and Chichester are all easily accessable harbours and offer some good sheltered sailing. This becomes particularly attractive when the conditions on the Solent are too extreme for an enjoyable sail – often the shelter of a harbour can make all the difference. We usually plan at least one harbour sail in our sailing programme.

Lake Sails

Another alternative, when conditions at the coast are not favourable, is to head inland to a local lake or reservoir. There are plenty of options for day sailing at reasonable rates and it is often a pleasant change to sail without the worry of waves or tide.

Beach Days

beach_day_1Beach days are popular club events with a range of watersports (dinghy sailing, windsurfing, canoeing) taking place from a fixed location (often from Stokes Bay on the East Solent). These events are open to club members and their friends and families. They  offer an ideal opportunity for beginners to try different activities and improvers to practice new techniques (such as trapezing and spinnaker work). Stokes Bay has a good beach (although it is pebbly) with some facilities close by, ideal for relaxing between activities.These days tend to be less stressful than a full day’s cruise with more time for relaxing. There isn’t the need to wory so much what the tide is going to do or if the wind is going to die. There is usually the option of a lunch time beach BBQ if there is enough interest.

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Chichester Harbour Summer 2021

Cobnor Summer Camp

This year we held a long weekend summer Cobnor camp and were fortunate to have excellent sunny weather. Thirteen families turned up and enjoyed sailing, paddle boarding and kayaking. The evenings were spend in sunshine chatting and barbequing. A diary of this long weekend is given below.

Wednesday June 10th

08:30 and Sarah Louise and Steve arrived, got Sarah’s Trio rigged and launched into a rising tide and the barest wisps of wind in blue skies and full sun. The drive down had been foggy, the IOW was obscured by fog, and yet just along the strip of coast the sun blazed down. We took 90 minutes of sneaky shallows sailing to make Chalkdock against the flood, and with an hour to go turned for Dell Quay. The SW F1-2 became a southerly F2-3 along the Itchenor reach and we then broad reached to the pub.

The pub required us to sit down and be served, and so we sat on an outdoor sofa which overlooked the water. We had a lovely chat with two canoe paddlers who were randomly assigned the sofa next to us. I’d say more salty than all of us; several transatlantic crossings in a Contessa32, and many salty adventures around the Bahamas.

Soon after the tide turned, we began the beat home in a F2-3, reached the Itchenor channel, and met Adri and Anna coming back from Bosham, where we returned to, took in Ice Creams and headed home in a sporty F4 for a bit of camping. Ginny and Phil arrived and camped.

Thursday June 11th

The plan was for Dell Quay for lunch and Bosham for afternoon ice cream, a tried and trusted crowd pleaser.

The plan unfolded as expected, we were in no hurry to launch as the overcast skies would lead to no sea breeze and the forecast was for more wind in the afternoon. Ginny in her Scow, John and Phil in Phil’s Versa, Anna and Adri in the club Versa and Sarah-Louise and Steve in Sarah’s Trio left the hard at 10:30, headed up-tide and got to Park (beyond Roman Transit) before turning at 11:10 for Dell Quay. We were making a good headway and were about 90 minutes off East Head as we continued onwards.

The broad reach, reach and run saw the fleet at the pub at about 12:15, and we got adjacent outdoor tables where beer, chips and cheesy chips were enjoyed before repairing to the beach for our sandwiches.

The ebb spurred us to action, the beat was good with the tide beneath us, the reach gusty, the run to Bosham slightly eventful. A patch of weed tripped the rudder on the Trio, and we gybed into a broach; fortunately, nothing was there to broach into.

The ice creams at Bosham were good. While I was holding all the boats I was interrogated by a Conservancy Officer regarding a lack of Conservancy stickers, and fortunately we had all phoned in and got a 5-day permit (for which no sticker is issued). Also note that BSC charge if you land on their slipway, but I was holding the boats while still in the water so apparently that does not count. (Also note that even if you have a conservancy sticker, it’s a further £7 per day to launch a dinghy from Itchenor).

The return to Cobnor was a challenging beat with the raging ebb, we reefed just to make it more handleable.

And now the sun has finally come out.

Friday June 12th

Overnight, Ged, Archie and Lisbeth arrived.

The crew were Steve and Lisbeth, Sarah and Ginny in Trios, Phil and John, Anna and Adri in Versas and Ged and Archie in the Storm17.

We launched at 10am into a SW F3 overcast and drizzling, and beat against the flooding tide to East Head where we stopped briefly at 11:15.

The journey to Mengeham Rythe crossed the incoming flood, and then we were carried by it and through the first moorings. It gets tight on the way to My Lord’s Pond, with boats in bow to stern trots and a dead end to avoid. All made it handsomely on the beat there, many tight tacks, and we settled in the now bright sunshine on the North shore for an hour of siesta, lunch and snoozing.

The start of the ebb jolted us into action, and we made our way out which was much easier on the broad reach and run. When we made North of HISC the VHF came alive with a hail from Cody members who have a yacht; Jenny and Roy had sailed to East Head on a whim, so we sailed over and said hello.

We stopped to regroup on Pilsey, passing the deep water Port Hand post the correct side, and just for fun sailed to “Star” racing mark before turning home. Ginny had her racing head on, and Sarah’s Trio was uncatchable. Some had interesting gybes on the way home, some sat majestically running dead downwind without a care in the world, upon cushions.

We arrived home about 1530.

Saturday Sailing

The fleet set off at about 11am after investing some time in working out the club Versa spinnaker.

Mel and Anna, Martin and Ben, Phil and Lisbeth in Versas, Edmund and Isabelle in their Trio, Ged and Archie in the Storm17 and Stephen and Jackie paddled canoes while John took his paddle board. Adri went for a walk, as did Andrea.

Wind was light and variable until Birdham Pool when the sea breeze set in. The sailing was good. The tide was still flooding, so the fleet was anchored. Dell Quay Sailing Club made us most welcome with legendary scones. The fleet left just after 14:00 into a S F3, which built to a F4 at times. In glorious sunshine we beat through Birdham Pool to a close reach along the channel past Itchenor. Steve and Simon joined the fleet for the Itchenor reach, then carried on to East Head for a play in the bigger winds as we broad reached with the spinnaker up home. Someone, not us, using the slipway was lowering their boat, having neglected attaching it to the trolley and the boat fell off the trolley pinning someone between the boat and the wall. We were fortunately out of the way and no major harm was done but it’s a reminder to keep the boat attached to the trolley.

Thanks to Phil for leading the daysail.

Saturday Paddling

Jackie and Stephen Deakin were in their sleek kayaks and John was on his 5th trip on his new Bluefin Cruise 10.8 (SUP).

The outbound leg was in ideal conditions; with the tidal current and in very light winds. The light winds meant that we took about the same time as the dinghies to reach Dell Quay.
By the time of our return the tide had turned and the sea breeze had set in at about 15kts which made for very different conditions. John decided to sit down on his board using the kayak seat that clips to his board, otherwise standing up would have been torturous. He also made use of the second paddle blade to make a double-ended set.

Overall we recorded a 7 mile round trip. It was only after we returned that Stephen noted Jackie was nearly an Olympic rower, which explains why she left Stephen and John far in her wake at times. Like any hard work it was a slog at times but a good achievement in retrospect.

Even in the windy conditions we made the return journey again in a similar time to the dinghies

Roll on future Cody paddling trips!

Sunday (14th) Paddlers

Phil on his kayak and John with his SUP set off from Cobnor at 0945, just before the slipway closed for the Oppy launching window. They had a very pleasant paddle to Bosham with the tidal current and the wind. Following the well established Cody tradition, they stopped at Bosham for an early ice cream. As the tide still had a way to rise and they didn’t fancy a long mud walk, they decided to chance the Bosham Sailing Club slipway and left their craft on the green.

Ice creams consumed, they returned to the green and were stealthily making their way to the slipway when a Bosham Quay staff member came out of his office to demand a fee (£5 each) for using the slipway. After relaunching they made their way further up the Bosham channel as far as they could go with the water available. As they turned to make their way back to Cobnor the tide was against them and there was a healthy breeze. It was hard going on his feet for John on his SUP, so he tried paddling from his knees. Using just the SUP one- ended paddle still made for slow progress, so he added the second blade. Not expecting a breeze John hadn’t taken his kayak seat for his SUP, so he had to sit back on his feet to paddle.

They made steady progress heading back to Cobnor, arriving about 1145 just as the Oppies were finishing their morning racing. It took John a while to be able to get his legs straight, but it was another valuable SUP journey to put in the experience bank.

Sunday Sailing

The weather on Sunday was light winds but gloriously sunny and hot. Seven Cody boats sailed from Cobnor to Dell quay late morning after a racing fleet of Optimists had launched. We found a bit of wind and it was a beat/reach to the pub

The weather on Sunday was light winds but gloriously sunny and hot. Seven Cody boats sailed from Cobnor to Dell quay late morning after a racing fleet of Optimists had launched. We found we needed to take into account the Open Meeting at Bosham SC where about 20 Mirrors and 35 Optimists were racing, so we left after the race fleets were on the water. Keith and Lois joined us from Itchenor in their Sport 14. Mel and Steve, Rob and Adri, Sarah and Simon and Lisbeth in Trios, Martin and Ben in their Versa and Ged and Archie in their Storm17.

We slightly entangled ourselves in the Optimist fleet, and mostly kept out of the way as the tiny humans battled with surprisingly different levels of ability to round their racing mark near Deep End. The clear blue sky did not lift a convincing sea breeze and we were left with puffs and patches of wind from the South as we took the flood to Dell Quay.

Lunch was taken both at the Pub, at the Sailing Club on their veranda and on the beach under the shade of a foreshore tree.

The return trip was uneventful, the wind dropping to barely allow us over the ebbing tide to Cobnor.
We packed up in a crowded carpark and headed home.

This posting was collectively created by the attendees of the camp.

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